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Taiwan Church News
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Taiwan Church News

3345 Edition

April 4 - 10, 2016

Headline News

 

The 61st PCT Annual Meeting Makes A Perfect Ending

 

Reported by Simon Lin

 

From March 29 to 31, the 61st PCT annual meeting was held at Dr. Landsborough Memorial Hall of Changhua Christian Hospital. With newly elected officers, this PCT annual meeting also passed 29 resolutions including a missionary cooperative agreement with the Borneo Evangelical Mission(BEM) and Gereja Kemah Injil Indonesia (GKI). Delegates of ecumenical churches, from overseas Taiwanese, Korea, Japan, US, Indonesia, India and many others, were specially introduced by Rev. Lyim Hong-tiong in the opening service of this annual meeting.

Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary of WCC, sent his congratulations and messages on behalf of WCC to this PCT annual meeting in the opening service. Read by Rev. Cheng Yang-en, a member of WCC's Central Committee, Rev. Tveit congratulated all Taiwanese people on having elected the first female President - Ms Tsai Ing-wen, who was deeply appreciated of what PCT had contributed for human rights on Taiwan. Rev. Tveit believed PCT, while carrying on her pastoral role taking care of the spiritual needs of Taiwanese people, would also deliver the prophetic voices for human rights in Taiwan society.

Newly elected Vice-President of Taiwan, Dr. Chen Chien-jen, gave his warm and greetings in peace(ping-an, shalom) to about 500 PCT representatives in the opening service. Chen pointed out the missionary journey of PCT had always been closely connected with every social progress of Taiwan, evidenced in the introduction of western medicine and care, establishment of modern schools, publication of news paper and promotion of social services. "PCT's love is not empty in words, but a participatory justice working with the oppressed and the marginalized", Chen highly affirmed what PCT had contributed for Taiwan in the past one and a half centuries.

Rev. Nagazaki Tetsuo, General Secretary of The United Church Of Christ in Japan(UCCJ), expressed his ineffable thanksgiving for PCT's hospitality coordinating the "Lamb Camping" around Taiwan from 2014. Many children, affected by the radioactive threats from Fukushima nuclear disaster after Japan's 311 event, did receive a tremendous relief, when they were arranged to have a short period camping travels around Taiwan through a big help from PCT, remarked Rev. Nagazaki.

Rev. Sudu Tada, the newly elected Moderator of the 61st PCT General Assembly, emphasized the importance of a consolidated PCT by following Christ as it would help overcome our complex differences from the multi-dimensions within the fields of culture, ethnicity, value and ideology. He encouraged each presbytery or district humbly complying with PCT's orders and stipulations, accommodating each other and moving forward kinds of ministries in order to make PCT as a sign of hope among different peoples.

Translated by Peter Wolfe


Participated by over 500 representatives, the opening service of the 61st PCT Annual Meeting was held at Dr. Landsborough Memorial Hall of Changhua Christian Hospital on March 29, 2016.

PCT, represented by Rev. Sudu Tada(Moderator, 2nd from right) and Rev. Lyim Hong-tiong(General Secretary, right most), signed a missionary cooperative agreement with representatives of the Borneo Evangelical Mission(BEM) and Gereja Kemah Injil Indonesia (GKI).

Photos by Umav, Chen Yi-hsuan and Simon Lin

 
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Taiwan Church News

3344 Edition

March 28 - April 3, 2016

Editorial

 

Editorial: Let A Micro-Reformation Come!

 

Just like Paul's missionary journey to Athens, utilizing the local concept of an unknown god to proclaim the gospel, the Christians should also possess an encyclopedia-like knowledge beneficial for their missions in the spirit of reformation. According to the media, a policy named as "No Burning Paper, No Burning Incense", proposed by Shushuei Townnship Office of Changhua County, got a popular welcome from her neighboring 23 local temples and 14 village chiefs. This year, urged by environmental protection groups to love the earth, Nan-yau Temple in Changhua County also promises no burning firecrackers and a remarkable reduction of the number of altars, incense and the related burning time during her annual pilgrimage event.

As all these religious phenomena seem not accidentally happened, a more amazing thing happened when the Bai-sha-tun Matsu proceeds her parade in Yong-ching township in Changhua County. People gave a shouting hurray to Bai-sha-tun Matsu, when this Taiwanese goddess hastily passed through the hypocritical welcoming boutiques and sacrifices prepared by the notorious adulterated oil maker - brothers of Ting-Hsin International - who were shamelessly asking for blessings and luck changing in a manner to offer boutiques to Matsu or pass under her seat. Having seen all these Taiwanese god or goddess are conscientious to stand by Taiwanese people, a religious reformation launched by the people seems secretly under way in Taiwan society.

In this year, most Taiwan churches choose to commemorate a traditional Easter Day inside their church wall through distributing Easter eggs or holding thanksgiving service. But, it is a pity that this traditional commemoration of Easter Day could not reach out to the public Taiwan society. To proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ's resurrection, it is absolutely positive that some churches take on the train to send Easter eggs or take to the street to spread the gospel pamphlet, yet except sending joy and peace by our lips, are we courageous enough to launch a micro-reformation delivering the core values of our Christian faith into the bottom heart of Taiwanese people?

After Jesus' resurrection, the Bible says,  "[t]hen he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, 'Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer, and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem'''(Luke 24:45~47). From these verses, the fundamental elements of the gospel are suffering, resurrection, repentance and forgiveness. Whether our proclaimed gospel today are complaint to the teachings of Jesus, it is a matter we should be vigilant enough to watch and think twice.

On March 28, a heinous homicide of beheading a four-years-old girl tragically happened in Taiwan. The heartbroken mother of the angelic girl urged Taiwan society in tears, "Ultimately, from our families and the education system, let such kind of evildoer disappear forever from our society and hope this kind of people will never show up again in our future generations!". At that moment, when Taiwan society united together to share their sorrow and condolence for this innocent girl and her families, it reminded us, except attending common religious services, Jesus also went into the bottom of the society to heal those people of leprosy and made friends with prostitutes, tax-collectors and burglars. In addition, Jesus turned his suffering on the cross into a permanent forgiving salvation. In our context today, our faith in Christ do bring us much more abundance than the joyful Sunday service of praise and worship. There are too much ministries beyond what the church are engaging now!

After the Easter Day, may the Lord open our minds to understand kinds of suffered people in Taiwan society, just like we used to learn his sufferings for us. In the meantime, may the Lord let us understand the Bible and know the gospel we have to proclaim are repentance and forgiveness!

 
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Taiwan Church News

3344 Edition

March 28 - April 3, 2016

Church Ministry

 

Prof Gerald West Lectures On Contextual Bible Study For Minority Groups

 

Reported by Chen Yi-hsuan

 

On March 28 and 29, at an annual pastoral and theological lecture jointly held by Tainan Theological College and Seminary(TTCS) and Sin-Lau Hospital(SLH), a South Africa famous theologian, Senior Prof Gerald West from University of KwaZulu-Natal, was invited to deliver 4 lectures about the "Contextual Bible Study"(CBS) for minority groups like AIDS/HIV patients, abused women and the exploited people in post-colonial age.

In the beginning, Prof Gerald West emphasizes the people's viewpoint is critically fundamental for CBS, because its development is highly influenced by South Africa's black theology, contextual theology and Latin America's liberation theology. West pointed out CBS is not only a methodology in faith but also a commitment to biblical interpretation of special values.

"Public society", as a key word appeared repeatedly in CBS, refers especially to the poor and the marginalized. "This is what 'incarnation' means," remarks West, "caring for the life of each individual!". The Bible should bring forth life, as reading the Bible should be conceived as a site of contestation and struggle to fight against the idol of death, says West.

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 
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Taiwan Church News

3344 Edition

March 28 - April 3, 2016

Church Ministry

 

Fighting Climate Change, "Taiwan Statement" Issued By INMIP To Treasure Indigenous Economy And Eco-system

 

Reported by Lin Chia-ching

 

In the morning on March 20 at Taipei, nine member state representatives of the International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples(INMIP), including Australia, Philippine, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Holland and Taiwan, together with indigenous farmers, agricultural experts and Taiwan's legislators declare a "Taiwan Statement" urging global governments to treasure indigenous economy and eco-system and fight against the deteriorating climate change.

Symbolizing an union of Taiwan confronting the challenges of the climate change, Rev. Omi Wilang(PCT's secretary of Indigenous Mission Committee), Ms Kawlo Iyun Pacidal(Legislator of New Power Party), Ms Kolas Yotaka(Legislator of Democratic Progressive Party) and Mr Paelabang Danapan(Vice President of the Control Yuan) all hold the native silver grass in their hands and let them be bound together by Masay Sulung (the Atayal tribal chief of Smangus) in the praise and prayer of the Atayal pastor Tali Behuy.

Representatives of nine INMIP member states were also invited to visit various Taiwan's indigenous tribes at E'tolan(Taitung), Laiji(Chiayi), Namasia(Kaohsiung) and Jianshi(Hsinchu), learning the innovations of Taiwan's mountain agriculture, understanding the difficulties and exchanging their experiences and solutions.

In the bread house inside the deep mountain of Namasia(Kaohsiung), INMIP members learn how to bake the bread; at E'tolan(Taitung), under the instruction of the 84-year-old tribal chief, Banei Dali, the techniques of making colorful bags with the material of barks are shared.

In Jianshi(Hsinchu), Evangelist Dalu explains to INMIP members the relationships between land, crops and spirituality at the prayer mountain in Shilei; at Marikan tribe, the story of defending the access rights to water is told by Elder Yumin Hayung; at Tbahu tribe, Elder Domi Bayen shows INMIP guests how to collect mushrooms in the typhoon season; at Taigang tribe, the peach farm of Elder Rosya Butay is visited; INMIP members also taught in a religious ritual  by Rev. Tali Behuy to plant millet and many other indigenous crops at Cinsbu; the meaning of "Tnunan" textile is explicated by Elder Yuraw Icyang under a group of red cypresses giant trees at Smangus.

Mr Ben Ruli from Papua New Guinea, after his visit of Laiji(Chiayi), expresses that he hopes to bring back the indigenous production techniques of sugar to his home land in order to improve the economy of his tribe people. Because the natural environment and the species of crops at Laiji are very similar to his home town, says Ben Ruli.

Prof. Lin Yih-ren, organizer of this INMIP Taipei assembly and director of Graduate Institute of Humanities in Medicine at Taipei Medical University, explains the reason why this Taiwan Statement is issued after his first attendance of INMIP at Nepal in 2014. It is due to a rapidly deteriorating global climate change and an excessive developments worldwide, the traditional agricultural environment experienced the drastically negative impacts and many indigenous mountain crops are hard to survive henceforth. Therefore, the global governments are obligatory to treasure their lands, oceans, local seed system and bio-cultural heritages in order to protect and preserve indigenous economy and eco-system, remarks Lin.

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 
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Taiwan Church News

3344 Edition

March 28 - April 3, 2016

Headline News

 

Easter Color Eggs And Keng-Sing Weekly Passed To Commuters On Local Train

 

Reported by Chen Yi-hsuan

 

To share the wonderful joy of Easter Day and proclaim the good news of the gospel, about 30 members of Shuei-sang church of Chiayi Presbytery took on the local train from Nan-jing station to Min-hsiung station delivering 500 units of Easter color eggs and Keng-Sing weekly to the commuters around 9:30 am on March 26. Many passengers were very surprised to receive such beautifully packaged gifts and exclaimed "Why?" or "Why me?".

After the church members of Shuei-sang church arrived Min-hsiung station, a hymn celebrating Easter was sang to the audience and a very popular electric-dance was preformed at the plaza before this railway station. In order to proclaim the good news, Easter color eggs and Keng-Sing Weekly were passed to the people gathering around. Bringing their gifts into post office, police station and fire department, members of Shuei-sang church also marched into the downtown of Min-hsiung Township to share the great joy of Easter.

The idea of delivering Easter color eggs on local train was originated from a couple of Quaker church, who were contracted to install the interior decorations for Shuei-sang church and shared this thought out in their chats a few years ago, said Rev. Chen Fon-ming of Shuei-sang church. And this idea started to attract and mobilize the whole church members to take part in. Now, it becomes an annual event for Shuei-sang church to deliver Easter color eggs and Keng-Sing Weekly on local train in the second year. Rev. Chen hopes this event of sharing Easter joy on train will go on to more and more stations in future.

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

Members of Shuei-sang church delivered 500 units of Easter color eggs and Keng-Sing weekly to the commuters on the local train from Nan-jing station to Min-hsiung station around 9:30 a.m. on 26 March, 2016.

Celebrating Easter Day, members of Shuei-sang church sang hymn to the passengers at Min-hsiung railway station on 26 March, 2016.
Photos by Chen Yi-hsuan
 
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Taiwan Church News

3343 Edition

March 21 - 27, 2016

Editorial

 

Editorial: Take The Easy Road Or The Hard One?

 

A few days ago, there was a news saying that, due to some hearsay of ghost stories, many people were afraid to approach the cleared site of Weiguan Jinglong Building, which was collapsed due to a 6.4 earthquake on February 6 this year, local business around the site was dropped to an unprecedented low level. In order to break down such superstitious rumors, both Tainan City Mayor William Lai and Pingtung County Magistrate Pang Meng-an went together to purchase some goods from these local stores. Hence, not only local communities were greatly inspired, those ghost stories were also driven away. Instead of confining us in a special comfort-zone, this local news also makes us Christians to reflect further, after so many people having experienced the drastic disaster and psychological trauma, whether we should step out of the wall of church and bring forth the power of peace?

In annual Easter Day, the Christians are used to decorating the church seriously with an awe-inspiring and solemn milieu to feel vividly the passion and suffering of Jesus. But the theological significance shown in this traditional setting is quite inconsistent with the teachings of contemporary church: Theologia Gloriae first or become a leader! The real spirit of Jesus' passion is his sacrifice for the salvation of us, not for his own benefits. The path to Lord's glory is still through sacrifice in action, not by cheap words from mouth only.

After Tainan's destructive earthquake on February 6, an incessant supply of first-aid supports and resources from PCT's brothers and sisters is truly appreciated. These anonymous and humble heros also showed up in the past historic events when Taiwan society were confronted big disasters. They are the people who simply want to reach out to help, not to seek any media flash lights. Within this brave sacrifice to rescue, our Lord's glory is witnessed. It is never short of criticisms from back fires or stubborn dogmatists, though, especially when the money and resources are donated for the people beyond the church's wall, it is still a great opportunity for us learn Jesus' sacrifice in action yet not in complaint.

If we take a step further to think about our Christian duty, then we can find it is not limited to the where and when of those catastrophes happened. Facing so many social injustices, be it may environmental pollution, economical exploitation or kinds of discrimination, are we willing to stand up to witness our Lord's glory in the spirit of Jesus' sacrifice? Instead of desiring to administer a mega-church, acquiring more titles and grabbing more powers, the so-called religious leaders should do their utmost to serve the marginalized and stand by the poor. This is the most precious gift that Jesus brought for this world.

Since the publication of Jesus > Religion, a straight-talk book about the difference between religion and faith, many young Christians are deeply inspired to pick up their faith again. This book clearly explains why many erroneous and stereotyped dogmas, self-righteous clerics and unswerving zealots in the name of their gods have nothing to do with Jesus. PCT is fortunate enough to be a church proclaiming the gospel across Taiwan in every town and city. Though we do not have enviably lucrative donation or spectacular assembly like some mega-churches in big cities, our grass-root typed pastoral lives strenuously connecting with the people and local communities is the most beautiful gift and amazing grace blessed by our Lord. We should remember what Jesus said in scripture: "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it." (Matthew 7: 13 - 14)

 
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